Question your assumptions

In 1939, a young man by the name George Dantzig was a graduate student in mathematics at the University of Berkerly in the United States of America.

By every account he was not the best in his class and certainly he was not considered to be better than Jerzy Neyman, his professor, for a student cannot be greater than his master.  One morning George arrived late for the class, as he was wont to, he found three mathematics problems on the black board.  Assuming that the problems were homework for the day, he quickly jotted them down.

After class George went to work on the problems.  A few days later, George took his completed homework to the professor.  In his own words George later said, “I apologised to the professor for taking long to complete the homework because I found the problems to be a little harder than usual.”  Three weeks later, Jerzy Neyman informed George that he had actually solved two of the mathematics problems to which no man had managed to find a solution.  What had happened is that before George arrived for the lecture, the class had a discussion on unsolvable maths problems.  Jerzy Neyman had written two of these on the blackboard.  George, having been late for the class, had missed this part of the lecture and therefore assumed the problems on the board were the homework. When George saw the problems without the professor’s assertion that the problems were unsolvable, he assumed that they were  homework that students like him were expected to solve within reasonable time.  By his own admission, if he had known these problems to be examples of unsolvable problems he, like the other students, would never have attempted to work them out.

Editor's Comment
Parents should be more proactive in children’s lives

Parents need to pay particular attention to their children to ensure they grow up in a healthy environment that supports their development and mental health. Healthy attachments between parents and children foster strong bonds, creating a solid foundation for future leaders.In many African cultures, there is a common perception that parents should use a stick to discipline naughty children. While disciplining children is important, it is equally...

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